Teachers wary of sabre rattling

The latest round of threatening headlines in the B.C. teachers’ strike appear to be just posturing to the Central Okanagan’s union president.

Alice Rees, president of the Central Okanagan Teachers’ Association, said she understands B.C. school trustees summarily dismissed suggestions from the B.C. Public Schools Employers Association, that teachers be docked pay for work not done or locked out of schools, in meetings earlier this week.

“The thing of it is, there is nothing we’re not doing,” said Rees, noting every teaching function is covered off under the present job action.

Teachers have pulled out of administrative meetings and doing extra paperwork and will not handle morning and recess supervision as part of ongoing job action.

However, Rees says none of those functions are actually part of the teaching job.

The teachers point to the School Act, noting responsibility for out-of-class supervision is actually an administrative function and not part of the teachers’ job description.

Rees reiterated her consistent message for parents and the general public that the job action is primarily about teacher supports in classrooms, rather than pay.

“Students who used to have a full-time librarian now have only half a day a week,” she said.

Students who need psychological testing are given a number and placed in a cue, she said, and time with learning assistance teachers has been drastically cut by comparison to what students received just ten years ago.

This past spring, teachers won a Supreme Court ruling stating the gover nment’s actions were illegal when the province stripped bargaining on class size and composition from the teachers’ collective agreement without negotiation.

The ruling forms a large part of the ongoing negotiations this year.


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